The Lipscomb University Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) student organization won its division April 2 at the SIFE Atlanta regional competition. This is the third consecutive year the group has won its division at the regional competition. With this win, the team qualifies to compete in the national competition in Kansas City May 22-24.
The Lipscomb College of Business SIFE team (Students in Free Enterprise) is a program that helps business students learn to become socially responsible business executives through coordinating nonprofit services while still in college.
The team, made up of five students and two Sam Walton Fellows, won first place in its division at the Atlanta Regional SIFE competition.
The SIFE team was involved in various service projects throughout the school year but focused on three that had the most impact for its presentation:
- Marketing and holding neighborhood workshops on energy saving techniques through Kilowatt Ours;
- Coordinating a program for elementary school students to write letters to students in other countries to help build English skills and cultural bridges through Pen Pal; and
- Developing a program to help middle school students build financial skills through Financial Literacy.
Participating SIFE students apply business concepts to develop outreach projects to improve quality of life and standard of living for people in need. Lipscomb’s SIFE participants completed more than 700 service hours during the 2011-12 school year.
Students who made the winning presentation at the SIFE regional competition were: Andrew McArthur, Angela Han, Wayne Shen, Valeria Winkler and Courtney Watts. The presentation team was led by Sam Walton Fellows Dr. Bill Fredenberger and Mrs. Crissy Fredenberger, faculty sponsors of the Lipscomb SIFE organization.
Each of the presentation teams for the competing colleges is composed of five to six students. The teams work on the projects for approximately six months, design, and prepare their 24-minute presentation, and then make the presentation to approximately 12 business executives of national and international corporations selected by the National SIFE management team.
Kilowatt Ours is an adult education program delivered to low income audiences to teach them how to conserve their electricity consumption to save money. In their competition presentation, the students noted that Tennessee currently holds the highest ranking in the United States for residential electricity consumption per capita. Energy expenses account for 20 percent of the annual income generated by low-income households compared to the eight percent of annual income the average household expends. They also noted that rising energy demand and costs are destroying the environment and economy.
To combat this problem, the SIFE team joined with Jeff Barrie’s non-profit Kilowatt Ours, dedicated to reducing energy consumption in Nashville, to hold a series of workshops on energy saving techniques in low-income communities.
The workshops provided descriptions of simple adjustments residents could make to their homes and in their daily habits to effectively eliminate excessive energy consumption. Participants left the workshops with energy-saving kits consisting of energy efficient light bulbs, electrical outlet insulators, power strips and other household tools to aid energy efficiency.
Madagascar Pen Pal Project
Lipscomb has a special connection to Madagascar as 26 students from the island nation enrolled at Lipscomb in fall 2008.
According to the SIFE team’s research, only 69 percent of the people living in Madagascar are literate. Given this fact, the SIFE team, which includes many of the Malagasy students, decided to coordinate a pen pal project to help Malagasy children improve their English. More than 500 students made connections across the globe.
Financial Literacy is a middle school program to help build the understanding of students of basic money management skills. Tennessee has the third highest rate of bankruptcies in the nation. The team’s research found that more young adults fil bankruptcy than graduate from college and that 31 percent of households have zero or negative net worth. The Lipscomb SIFE team designed a program in partnership with Northwestern Mutual to address these issues and developed a program to teach middle school students about financial matters.
As a regional winner, Lipscomb’s SIFE team is eligible to compete in the national competition May 22-24 in Kansas City. A win there would send the team on to the international competition in Washington, D.C., in October.